Online master's degree programs are available for aspiring school librarians. These are typically offered as degree programs in library science with a concentration in school media. Although coursework typically can be completed entirely online, these programs often require in-person fieldwork. A master's degree is typically the minimum educational requirement for working as a school librarian. Public school librarians generally need a teaching certificate as well.
Master's Degree for School Librarians
Online master's degree programs for school librarians focus on maintaining media resources and literature for school libraries catering to students of all levels, from kindergarten through high school. Coursework includes investigations into administration and management, reference and information services, organization, youth media literacy and classroom management. Many of these courses overlap with traditional master's degree programs for education.
Program Details and Requirements
Most schools offering distance-learning programs allow students to complete standard coursework entirely online. These programs can often be finished within 2-3 years and are designed for part-time study. Schools also require a semester of fieldwork in addition to coursework.
Aspiring library media specialists who are enrolled online should have access to a current operating system, reliable broadband connection and updated Web browser. Assignments may require Microsoft programs, such as Word or Excel. Students should also have plug-ins to play media, such as Quicktime.
List of Common Courses
Online master's degree programs for school librarians are comprised of both library science and education courses. Most courses are designed to accommodate students that are state-licensed teachers as well as those that are not.
Children and Youth Services
Students study the traditional services offered by school and youth libraries across the nation. This course also teaches students what is typically expected of school librarians and media specialists.
Learning Theory and Media
This class covers the design and structure of school library programs by discussing research methods, information literacy, technological trends and archiving techniques. Students also learn school curriculum standards from elementary school to high school.
This class discusses the foundational issues, problems and functions of digital media in a school setting. Topics include integration of resources, updating traditional library structures and the socioeconomic implications associated with digital media.
Preservation of Archive Materials
Lessons focus on the history and methods of preserving archival material in an educational setting. Discussions typically cover risks related to physical materials, preserving resources and preventing deterioration.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary of librarians in elementary or secondary schools was $60,670 as of May 2015. Opportunities for employment for all librarians, including school librarians, are expected to grow 2% from 2014-2024 as library technology changes and current school librarians retire.
Graduates are eligible for state certification as school media specialists. Because master's programs incorporate both library science and education courses, students who become certified and wish to advance in their career can apply to Ph.D. programs for library science or education.
Master's degree programs in library science with a concentration in school media are available online, although many require some hands-on fieldwork. Common courses include topics related to archiving techniques, learning theory and youth services.